(Disclaimer: This is not Stephanie Meyer's Twilight cast, though she does own the whole Saga, nor do I own any of the songs that the titles of each chapter were inspired by. I own nothing but the DVD's, a set of the books and a few miscellaneous CD's.)
Full Summary: OOC, AH/AU, non-canon pairs AND character death and assassinations ahead. After finding out that his cancer is now in the end stage, Charlie calls Bella and asks her to pack up and move back in with him so that he can spend as much time as he has left with her. The problem with this is that she won't be coming back to Forks alone, she'll be bringing Edward's unwanted son home with her. The trials and tribulations of watching her father waste away will hit her hard, but with her friends and a new man by her side, she and her son can get through losing Charlie.
A/N: This is a new thing for me, writing a Twific, but these two characters speak to me. They are my favorite Twilight pairing and there's just something about Emmett that I simply love. This story is not for Edward lovers, he's the bad guy in this story, but don't worry; he's only in the first chapter. It is not a sad story, though there will be some sadness, nor is it solely a love story either. It is a story about finding your home, whether it is a place or simply in someone else's arms.
Each chapter is named for a song that I feel helps set the mood for what happens. It is up to you as to whether you listen to them or not, but I found them helpful in the writing of each one.
And, as always, credit where credit is due. kjwrit is my beta for this story, and has done one hell of a job. Her patience astounds me and her grasp of my ideas is nothing short of amazing. Thank you so much for agreeing to help me wrangle my muse and for being such and awesome beta.
Chapter 1- (Set Fire to the Rain- Adele)
As I walk up to the counter of the coffee shop I had chosen for our meeting I can see that he's already seated at a table off in the corner with his back against the wall. His eyes are following my every movement, much like a wounded animal would; watching his attacker and waiting for the next blow to fall on him. I guess I'm going to be cast as the attacker in this scenario. 'Oh well, it's a role that I'm used to by now with him,' I think as I shrug my shoulders to myself. I order my skinny Caramel Chai Latte- hold the foam- and pay for it before I walk to the end of the counter to wait for it to be made. Once I have it in my hand I take an experimental sip to make sure that it was made correctly and sigh in coffee-shop bliss when it is.
It's been nearly ten years since the last time I saw him, his broad shoulders held tight with indignant pride as he strode purposely from the lawyers office after proving how little I actually meant to him. The years have been fairly kind to him, though there are little indications that time has touched his beautiful face as well. At 29 years old he has the beginnings of the frown lines that used to always make me feel sorry for his father. I remember looking at Dr. Cullen and thinking that his face could be breathtaking if I could ever see him smile, but I never did. He was always so serious, so driven, and it would seem that Edward has inherited this seriousness along with his medical degree.
I covertly study him for a minute from below my mascaraed lashes and realize that it's hard to see the happy young man I spent the summer with so many years ago. I'm willing to bet that the smile that could always melt my heart, not to mention my panties, has not graced his face in years. The man sitting at the corner table gives off the impression that he wouldn't know fun if it drove over him with an 18-wheeler.
Wearily I make my way to his table, knowing that this will definitely not be a pleasant conversation between two old friends. I have some news that he will not appreciate and I can only hope that he won't make a scene since we are in a public place. I chose this particular coffee shop based on how close it is to the hospital and figured that there would be at least a couple of his colleagues in here to keep him in check. After all, there is nothing that the Cullens hate more than creating a scene.
"Thank you for meeting with me today, Edward. I know that it seems like my call came out of left field, I heard recently that you got married and that Tanya is expecting. Congrats on both by the way. I'm sure that she's everything that you've ever wanted, not to mention that your parents actually like her, huh?" I say as I sit down at the table across from him.
Tanya and I are as different as night and day. She's high-society and I'm no-society. She's Gucci and Chanel and I shop at Wal-Mart and Sears. She has a senior position with one of the county's top law firms and I'm a secretary in a cut rate insurance office in Tacoma to make ends meet… barely. Well, at least I was until I got that call from my dad this week.
But the point is this; I was never good enough for him, not as far as his parents were concerned. They had disapproved of me from the minute I placed my Blue Light Special Keds knock-offs on their imported Italian travertine tiled entry hall. To them I was nothing more than Edward's last act of rebellion before he headed off to Dartmouth to become a doctor, just like his father. Anytime I entered their home I was treated with polite disdain and constantly compared to Tanya, whom they thought was perfect, and more to the point, perfect for Edward. Apparently they were right.
"Well, it's not like they could hate her, could they? She is their god-daughter after all. And yes, we are expecting our first child in about four months" he stated stiffly, acknowledging my words with only the briefest of nods as though I was nothing more than a mere acquaintance, but then again, I suppose that is exactly what I am to him now.
I do my best to keep my temper in check as I ask, "Is that all you have to say? You don't even want to know why I called you now, after all of this time?"
"I figured that you'd tell me while we're here, but I'm pretty sure I have an idea."
"Well yes, I'm sure you do," I said, still more than a little nervous about how he was going to take my news, but I can't help myself and ask, "Aren't you even the slightest bit curious? Don't you want to know anything about him, Edward? You can't just forget about what happened, sweep it under the rug, and hope that it never sees the light of day."
"Bella, we have been over this time and time again. I offered to help you out, but it was your decision to continue on this course. It's hardly my problem anymore. If you'll remember, you absolved me of all responsibility concerning this matter." The waves of exasperation and contempt coming from him were so thick I thought they might actually knock me out of my seat.
My nervousness is replaced by the indignity I feel as I remember all too well that summer from years ago and I exclaim tightly, "You're such a cold, unfeeling bastard, you know that? I wasn't alone in this; you were fully on board that summer. Everything was so exciting. We were so wrapped up in each other and neither one of us thought about any of the consequences. By the time we left for college the damage was already done."
"Of course I remember how it was, we were young and in love, or so we thought. But Bella, we were just kids. Neither one of us was ready for what happened."
"But it did happen Edward, and like everything else in your life that you didn't want to deal with, you tried to get rid of it. You threw money at me and expected that I would take care of the problem. But it wasn't a problem for me Edward, it was my child. A child that I already loved and I simply couldn't get an abortion," I explain, feeling my own waves of exasperation.
"But that was your decision, not mine. I wasn't ready to be a father ten years ago and I explained that to you. We agreed that if you had the baby it was solely your responsibility. You chose to go through with the pregnancy and I signed away my parental rights before it was even born."
"He's not an 'it'; his name is Seth. And whether you want to acknowledge him or not, he is your son. He looks just like you, there's no mistaking it, and you won't be able to deny it for much longer." My intention isn't to taunt him, even if my tone might say otherwise.
"What's that supposed to mean?" he asks, instantly going on the defensive, "You can't get anything from me, you agreed to the termination of my rights and that means that you're not entitled to any kind of support from me or my family. If you think that you can come in here and threaten me, you've got another thing coming. Tanya specializes in family law, you won't stand a chance against her, nor will any lawyer you could afford," he sneered.
"Relax," I plead softly, "I don't want anything from you. But Seth is the reason I called you… kinda." I haul in a deep breath and square my shoulders, mentally preparing myself for the onslaught of anger I am sure to face once I say what I came here to tell him. After counting to ten, I release my breath, look back at him and say, "You see, my dad called me last week and blew my world to pieces. He's got stage four pancreatic cancer Edward, and I'm moving in with him to take care of him."
Another deep breath is pulled in and out of my lungs before I find the will to drop the bomb. "And since I'm moving back to Forks, so is Seth, obviously, hence the comment on your deniability concerning him."
I watch the color literally drain from Edward's face with more than a little amusement, knowing that this is most likely the first time in years that he isn't able to control everything in his neat and safe little world. His pale white look of shock is fading and is quickly being replaced by a deep red that is almost purple in hue, signaling what I can only imagine is repressed anger. I send up a fervent prayer that he will be able to keep his cool for a little while longer, or at least until our meeting is over and I'm long gone.
I watch him take in breath after breath, trying desperately to calm himself and after a few minutes it seems to be working as his face returns to its normal color. A few more minutes go by and I can only assume that he's plotting my torture and death by killer bees or something else along those lines when he finally starts to speak once more, only this time his voice holds an eerie calm, deadly in its undertone.
"What do you want Isabella? Do you want money? Fine, name your price and I'll have it in your account by this evening."
The fact that he thinks I'm there to be bought pisses me off and I have to physically repress my own anger as I say, "I don't want your money, I never have. I wanted to tell you this face to face so that you would have a chance to tell whoever you need to so there would be no surprises. Despite what you might think, I don't want to hurt you. You are my son's father, and while that might not mean anything to you, it means everything to me. He means everything to me, and I won't have him hurt any more than he already will be while he watches his grandfather die."
"Why here? Why can't you take Charlie to your house?"
"This is my dad's home, his town. He's been the police chief here for the past twenty-something years, never mind that he was born and raised in Forks. All of his friends are here, why should he leave? He's dying Edward; doesn't that mean anything to you? You're a doctor for Christ's sake!" I exclaim quietly, infuriated at his selfishness.
"Of course I feel bad for him, but you can't bring your child to Forks. I can't even imagine the chaos that it would cause me right now. Tanya is pregnant; this could cause complications for her, not to mention our marriage. Or what about what it will do to me? Nobody will respect a doctor that walked away from his child, whether it was wanted or not."
I simply can't believe the temerity of this man. I just told him that my father is dying in one of the most humiliating and torturous ways possible, one that will have him literally wasting away, and he's worried about his reputation. Un-fucking-believable. As I continue to stare at him, unable to say anything due to my shock at the depth of his conceit, he starts speaking once more.
"I'll tell everyone that I didn't know. Everyone knows that we went our separate ways shortly after we went off to college, and why wouldn't we? It wouldn't be such a stretch for them to believe that you never told me that you were carrying my child."
"Why would you have to tell them anything other than the truth? It's not like your family doesn't already know about him, who else matters?" I ask, wondering why he's acting like he's trying to cover his ass, when it suddenly hits me. "They don't know, do they? Oh my God Edward, please tell me that you told your family about this."
"I can't do that." Simple, blunt, and straight to the point, Edward was never one to mince words unless it helped him in some way.
"All this time and you've never said a word? Did it never occur to you that they might see him? And I promise you this; if and when they do, they'll know right away that he's yours. How were you planning on dealing with that possibility?" I was shocked and dumbfounded, unable to comprehend that he would fail to mention the fact that he had a child to his family. Who does that? At this point I'm almost afraid to ask the next question. "At least Tanya knows, right?"
"No, she doesn't. I never saw the point in telling her about our mistake."
"Mistake? He may not have been on the 'Cullen goes to school, gets a medical degree and lives happily ever after' plan, but he was never a mistake. Not for me." I grab my disposable coffee cup and stand to leave, disgust tainting the memories I'd kept of this man now filling my head and my heart. I can't stand to be in his presence any longer, but as I turn to walk away, he grabs my arm, spinning me to face him.
"We're not done Isabella. We have to have a plan before you start parading your child around town and besmirching the name I've created for myself here," he says, practically spitting the words in my face.
"Oh, trust me when I say we are done here. My goal was to inform you that we were moving back to Forks and I've done that. It was a courtesy to you and your family that, looking back now, I should have spared myself from making." I say through gritted teeth. "As for any 'plans' you might have, just remember that I have the signed copy of your Termination of Parental Rights, signed and dated before he was even born, that will more than prove that not only did you know about your son, but that you willingly walked away from him. If you try to hurt him or my reputation in any way to save face I will not hesitate to make that fact public knowledge. How's that for a threat Edward?"
And with those words hanging heavily between us, I wrench my arm from his grasp and walk away from him, pain and pride warring in my head over our confrontation. Pain for the hurt I felt I would be causing my son by bringing him to my hometown and pride for the fact that I had finally stood up to Edward Cullen.